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Up one minute, down the next. It’s par for the course as far as West Ham are concerned.

The Hammers looked worthy of living up to the pre-season tag of top six gatecrashers early on, hitting the lofty heights of fifth and playing an attractive brand of football. 

But a humiliating cup exit and three winless league games later, Manuel Pellegrini’s side are back occupying their default mid-table spot.

So how do the bookies rate their chances now?

‘Typical West Ham’

Any early-season optimism evaporated almost as quickly as it arrived at The London Stadium. The air of positivity after a promising start has been replaced by an unavoidable sense of inevitability that only a campaign of mediocrity lies in wait.

It smacks of typical West Ham though of course, a team you just never know which side of the bed they will roll out of.

Already we’ve seen the best and the worst of the Hammers. While victories against Watford, Norwich and Man United were commanding, Pellegrini’s side were simply not at the races in defeats at home to Crystal Palace and, most recently, away at Everton. 

Still in the mix 

As it stands, the likes of Leicester, Everton and Wolves are all ranked above West Ham in the betting stakes for a top-six finish. No surprise to see Leicester leading the pack given their start but as for the other two contenders, well they actually sit below West Ham in the table. 

With that in mind and with three quarters of the season still to play, the 10/1 price still on offer at bet365 demonstrates great value on a side destined to be in the mix.

Should you fancy a flutter and look to take advantage of this bargain, rest assured that bet365 is regarded as the best betting site in the world. This bet365 review echoes the sentiments of many experts each with a positive attitude towards the Stoke based bookie. 

Manuel needs to mix it up 

To get back on track, Pellegrini needs to freshen things up. 

What’s been evident in recent games is the ineffectiveness of the team’s creative players, namely Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Pablo Fornals. Predictable and slow in their build-up play, the trio have looked so lost in recent games you’ve almost forgotten they’re on the pitch. 

Of more significance is how this impacts Sebastian Haller who has cut a lone, and often, frustrated figure up top. The Frenchman may have already notched four goals but he is clearly in need of help. At least somebody to play closer to him. 

Maybe it’s time we finally find out what Albian Ajeti is capable of? The Swiss international has been used sparingly by Pellegrini so far, the 22-year-old afforded only 16 minutes of Premier League action to be precise.

With a goals to game ratio of 29 in 58 for hometown club, Basel, the deadline day signing certainly knows where the goal is. Could he be the man to add some much needed energy in the frontline and, crucially, help West Ham retain momentum in their top-six push? 

Critical period

Whether Pellegrini delivers European football, as he did with Villareal, Malaga and Manchester City, may rest on the next set of fixtures. Not least the upcoming grudge match against Sheffield United and a battle with relegation candidates, Newcastle, both on home soil incidentally.

 To get back on track and claim maximum points in consecutive weeks will be a major boost psychologically and help retain momentum. Especially with what’s to follow: Burnley, Chelsea and Wolves away, and home games against North London duo Spurs and Arsenal.

 Unsurprising to some, the first quarter of the campaign has brought the ups and downs expected of West Ham. But as unpredictable as The Hammers can be, they’re not to be discounted from the top six reckoning just yet.